Lust for a Vampire (1971)

Article 2687 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 9-5-2008
Posting Date: 12-21-2008
Directed by Jimmy Sangster
Featuring Ralph Bates, Barbara Jefford, Suzanna Leigh
Country: UK

A girls’ school is terrorized by the reincarnation of Carmilla Karnstein the vampiress.

I’m not a big Hammer fan, and whenever I compare them to the Universal horror canon, I feel quite disappointed with them. However, if I keep in mind that the Hammer horrors had budgets that were more in line with the poverty row studios like Monogram, and if I make myself sympathetic to the modest ambition of recycling classic cliches while taking advantage of the growing permissiveness of cinema (back then, you couldn’t even get away with the title of this one), then I’m quite impressed with how well they’re done. This one has some very good scenes (the resurrection of Carmilla is very effective), some silly scenes (I’ll admit that the theme song “Strange Love” isn’t bad, but I just don’t think this is one of those movies that should have a theme song), and some overly-familiar cliches (hey, let’s have the villagers storm the castle!), but it’s entertaining enough for all that. And let’s face it; classic-style horror was starting to become a rare commodity at this time, so sometimes you just have to appreciate the cliches for what they are.


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